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Search for Special Education Director Misfires

After a five-month search, the district is right back where it started.

The Arlington Public Schools’ yielded three finalists but ultimately came up empty, parents and staff learned Thursday.

Superintendent Kathleen Bodie broke the news to them in an email. Bodie was not at Thursday’s School Committee meeting, as she was en route to China, but the issue was still discussed.

School Committee member William Hayner said he and former committee member Joseph Curro, both of whom reviewed the candidates, were both impressed by one of the finalists. He added that he was not questioning Bodie’s ultimate decision.

Hayner said that he would like to see the search resume as soon as possible. However, the committee, along with Hayner, agreed to wait to hear from Bodie.

In the email, Bodie wrote that the search should resume again next school year. This most recent search started last November.

Interim director Kathleen Lockyer has agreed to stay on for another year, the district’s human resource officer, Robert Spiegel, relayed to the committee from Bodie. Lockyer after former director Mark Ryder, who had been in place for three years, decided to leave his post for a nonprofit in Maine.

The special education department will also keep its current structure for another year, Spiegel said.

Multiple committee members did have questions about the failed search Thursday. However, they all agreed to wait for Bodie to discuss the issue further.

Committee member Cindy Starks said she would like to see some analysis done before a new search gets underway.

“I’d like to see more of a thought process on why [the search] didn’t work this time and why it will work next time,” she said.

said the issue would be an agenda item at the committee’s next meeting on Thursday, April 26.

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